Bond Machine Knitting - Garter bar instructions

Date: Tue, 26 May 1998 21:41:23 EDT
From: RavSue (
Subject: [BOND] Garter bar instructions

It has been a busy 24 hours!  So far 37 of my fellow bonders have asked me how
to make a garter bar with bobby pins (I'm beginning to call it the "Bobby Bar"
in my own mind!)  

[A note for UK Bonders: bobby pins are hair grips]

I didn't post it to everyone at first because I didn't think too many people
would be interested.  I was wrong!

So, if you want the instructions, here they are!

Here goes!

I am glad you like my idea.  I'm going to try to write out the instructions as
completely as I can.

Supplies - 
2 pieces of balsa wood (or the thin yard sticks I had) - cut to length
(the thinner the wood the better) Each piece should be no more than an inch or
so wide)
ruler - 
pen or pencil
bobby pins (pick your own color - I used the light ones)
pliers - small ones
glue gun or wood glue
Optional: tiny screws (less than 1/2 inch long) 
and a screw driver

1.  leave about 2 or 3 inches on each end as a kind of handle area for
handling the bar.
2.  With a ruler, mark every 8 milimeters.  These line are important because
you are going to line up the straight side of the bobby pin with the lines.
Be as accurate as you can
3.  Prepare all the pins before you begin attaching them to the wood as
You just want to open the pin wide enough so that the two sides are parallel
to each other - pulling it too far will cause a problem.  I also used the
pliers to bend back the tip on the wavy side, back toward the straight side of
the pin because when I left it alone I thought it might get in the way of the
next pin (you lay them very close together - not touching or anything like
that, but they are only 2 or 3 milimeters apart).  I used 60 of them for my
first bar, but you can go as wide or narrow as you want.
4.  Put some glue on the marked piece of balsa wood - just enough for 2 or 3
pins.  Working in small sections was crucial with the glue gun because it
hardens so quickly.  But I liked that because once it hardened, I wasn't as
likely to accidently knock them out of position as I added pins.  Each pin
should stick above the wood by an inch or so.  I lined up the tips of the pin
the edge of the piece of wood so they were all the same
5.  Line up the straight side of the pin with each mark you made.  Continue
working SLOWLY down the wood, adding pins carefully.
6.  When all the pins are glued to first strip, glue the other strip of wood
on top to cover all the glued area.
7.  Optional - for greater strength, you can place a few screws through the
bar to keep it more secure.

In essence you have a bobby pin sandwich with the hoop ends of the pins
sticking out evenly at the top by about 3/4 to 1 inch.

I've tested mine out and at first started to swear at myself (this thing is
hard to use!  why did I think it would be so great, etc., etc,)  But after
about 5 turns, I was getting it down.  I figured I was on the right track
because all the people who have posted messages about the garter bar have
talked about how frustrating it is at first.  I was at an additional
disadvantage (besides not having the "real McCoy") in that I didn't have any
instruction sheets!  All I had to go on was looking at a book in the book
store while my daughter read some children's books!

It was worth the effort - but next time I'm going to try even thinner wood
than these yard sticks - I think it will be easier to handle.  Next time - 100
pins - so I can work on sweaters and things. 

Good luck - if you need more help, give a holler.  But please remember - I'm
moving into my first house on the 10th of June, so time is getting tight. We
close on Thursday and I have a lot of running around to do (in addition to 2
part-time jobs and a 3 year old!)

Susan (on the move)


Date: 25 Jul 1998
Subject: Garter Bar

Garter Bar a La' Jann (makes a garter bar with 64 hooks, adaptable to any


NOTES: Thank you so much to the person who posted the original instructions
for the garter bar, they were very good and I am in the process of making
my third one. I am an avid craft person, as well as an artist, who does
scientific charts, so I have a lot of art and drafting experience. I feel I
have improved on the BASIC garter bar (not how it works, just how to make
one) and devised a few shortcuts and additions that will save you time and
effort, as well as make a "prettier" garter bar. They both function equally
well, but if you would like a bar that almost looks factory made, the
following instructions will help you to make one. (I am the person who can
never follow directions as they are written, I always have to do it my way,
and I like to devise shortcuts that make things easier!) 

No matter what you make a garter bar out of you will have a gap the width
of the bobby pins between the boards. This was just unfinished to me and I
had to devise a way to fill it. I chose mat board, since it is readily
available (in a box under my bed!), and very nicely the perfect
width/thickness. It also makes a guide for how deep the bobby pins are set
into the unit, so you don't have to measure their height as you are gluing.

I also had problems measuring the 8mm marks for the bobby pins. A mm is
pretty small and so easy to be off a little, just tip the pencil a little
and you may loose one. I measured very carefully, but found at the end of
my board (the glue that had already dried, of course) I had pins that were
way off of where they should be. So I devised a non-ruler measuring/marking
method and a way to check my progress as I went along. 

Hope you like my ideas and find my instructions easy to follow. I have gone
over them again and again, trying not to miss anything. 

Materials ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1 – 1/8" by 3" by 24" sheet of basswood, which is a lot harder than balsa
      (where craft and hardware stores sell the balsa wood) 
2 packages bobby pins (60 each light colored, you need 64 total)
Aleene's Tacky glue  ( I don't think I would even try this without tacky
glue as you need               
                                  that hold while you are working)
Scrap of mat board (ideally 24" long, but can be pieced)


Pencil (a real one)
Paper (typing)
Olfa circular cutter (for quilting)
Cutting board (self healing, for crafts and quilting)
Yard Stick
Metal ruler with cork back- preferred, or acrylic quilting ruler 
T Square (a small child's plastic T square would be better than a real one)
Small paintbrush or sponge brush for glue
Spring type clothes pins and/or
Spring type clamps   
C- clamps – at least 3-4 if possible
Needle nose pliers
Acrylic paint

Measure the basswood board to be sure it is 3", and adjust measuring if it
is not. Mark it in the middle, the whole length, (at 1 ˝ inches) for
cutting it in half, to make two 24" by 1 ˝" boards.  Using the Olfa
circular cutter and the metal ruler with the non slip cork, carefully cut
the board in half, rolling the cutter back and forth along the whole board
until it cuts through. Place the two halves together and trim any edges
that don't quite match if you want a "prettier" finished product. 

Set one piece of wood aside. Mark off 2" on each side of the second piece
of wood. Cut a 3" strip of paper long ways from the sheet of typing paper.
Fold it in half. Go to your knitting machine, push all the needles all the
way back in their beds, place the folded edge over the front edge of the
knitting machine and holding tightly, rub a pencil along the edge. Continue
rubbing until you have a clear picture of the tips of the needle bed, about
˝" of pencil marks wide. Be careful not to let the paper move at all while
doing this. 
The edges must be very visible. It will mark all the dividers between the
needle beds and give you a "ruler" for making the placement of your bobby
pins. This makes a pattern (like coloring over a penny as a child and
making an etching of it) for the marks you then transfer to one edge of one
board. The marks end up being at 8 mm each, but this is very hard to mark
accurately using a ruler. 
Lay the marks on the paper against the board and mark with a sharp pencil
(mechanical pencil is good here) where each bobby pin will go. Be sure to
make the marks as accurately as possible or you will be moving pins later.
SPECIAL NOTE: When you mark them, mark on the right side of every etched
divider line, continue across the board to the 2" mark at the other end.
When this is done, take the T square and run it down the long side of the
wood, marking a line across at every mark. These are the lines you will be
gluing the flat edge of the bobby pin to. The lines help to glue the pins
straight and parallel to one another. Don't glue yet…

Cut some strips of mat board with the Olfa cutter, ˝ inch wide, equal to
the 24" length of the board. If your scrap of mat board is not 24" long,
just piece a couple strips together. On your marked board only, glue the ˝"
strips well, along one edge of the board. Use a brush to place the glue
thin but evenly along the board. Wipe up any oozing of the glue on either
side of the mat board. Keep the outside edge as perfect as possible,
because this will be the edge you will see. Use clothespins or spring clips
to hold in place and do not proceed with the bobby pins until these are
glued in place, and somewhat dry. Don't forget to wash your brush. 

Prepare 64 bobby pins by spreading them open slightly, enough to make the
sides parallel. Using the needle nose pliers, give the crimped side of the
bobby pin a good squeeze to take some of the bend out of the tip. 

Set your knitting machine nearby. On the same table you are working on if
possible. You will need it to check the spacing of the pins as you glue
them. Place all the needles as far back as they go. 

Lay both boards out on a table next to one another. The second board makes
a surface that is even with the board you are working with so the bobby
pins lay flat. Just butt the two up next to one another, being careful not
to get glue on the second board. With the lines and mat board up and
nearest you, begin gluing the bobby pins, about 4-5 at a time. Put two
strips of glue across five lines and begin setting the flat side of the
bobby pin against the lines you have drawn. The foot of the bobby pin will
set against the edge of the mat board. Do each one the same way. For about
every 10 pins you glue, lift the board carefully, keeping it flat and slide
the tips of the bobby pins into the needle beds of your knitting machine,
to check the spacing. They should fit into the needle beds. Make any
necessary adjustments in the pins while the glue is still fresh. As you
glue remember to press a small ruler across the pins occasionally to keep
them flat as you glue. The last pin will go over your 2" space on one end
slightly. Check the whole board in the needle beds again, how is the fit?
You will see there is a small space on each side of the bobby pins in the
needle beds. It is best if they all hit on the same side of the needle
beds, flat side of the bobby pin all against the same side of the needle
bed. Use a pencil tip to make adjustments in the positions of the pins.
This is (almost) your last chance to make adjustments. Park this bobby bar
against the second board again, allow this to dry a few hours. 

Carefully cut two pieces of mat board to fill the 2" spaces at the end of
the board (minus the ˝" strip you already have in place). Again, pay
special attention to the outside edges, as this is what you will see. Put
glue on this, spreading to cover every bit of the pieces with a brush.
Clamp and allow drying a little. You will have mat board in a U shape
around the bottom, and sides of the board and bobby pins. 

Check your pins in the needle beds again. Push out all (64 at least) the
needles on your knitting machine. Open all needles, pushing the latches
back. Check the garter bar on the needles. Remember the needles have some
play in them and you may have to slide them a little to catch the bobby pin
in them. At this point if there are bad ones you will have to pry the pin
loose, scrape out the glue and glue again.

Brush all of the mat board with a very thin layer of glue (just a coating
or it will run out when you clamp it), run three beads of glue down the
whole bed of bobby pins, where you haven't ran it before. Place the second
board on top, matching the bottom and sides as perfectly as possible. Give
it a few good squeezes, and wipe up excess glue with a wet washcloth. Place
clothespins and/or spring clamps along the whole bar, about 1-2" apart.
Clamp the ends well too. Cut a few small squares of mat board, two for
every c-clamp you have. Use them as pads so the c-clamps won't mar the
wood. Attach the 3-4 c-clamps evenly across the board, from the bottom edge
so the heads are just below the bobby pin edge of the boards. This is the
only way to clamp the boards together across the bobby pin edge.  Allow to
dry. NOTE: I only had one c-clamp so I used nylon cord (thought if the glue
leaked out it would be easier than cotton string to pull off). I wrapped
the ends a few times, then did a very tight blanket stitch all down the
board, going between the bobby pins and using clamps at each "stitch" to
hold it as tight as I could pull it. At the end I went around several times
again and caught it with a chip. I checked again for a good fit on the
knitting machine. I have very strong metal clips, with orange plastic
handles and tips that were ideal for this whole job. Allow to dry

The next day I sanded the edges till they were flat and smooth. This made
the mat board completely level with the board edges. I sanded the board and
rounded the edges a little. Gave it all two coats of acrylic paint. 

If it weren't for the crimps in the bobby pins it would look factory made.
I am really proud of it! 

Jann Grimes


Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 13:41:33 -0500
From: "Ann Yotter" 
Subject: [BOND] New garter bar technique

I'm so excited!  While working on a wing for the goose sweater, I
accidentally found a better (for me anyway) way to use the garter bar or
multiprong transfer tool to do garter st.  The goose wing will have to wait
while I get this down so someone else can try it.  I think those with the
bobby pin bars will have a better time of it because they don't have the
little flares that help hold the sts on while you are lining everything up.
 This doesn't need them!  Someone else try this and see if it isn't easier
to turn a row.  I stumbled onto this using the 3 prong tool, but tried it
with a 14 prong multi tool, too.

Push the needles forward out to HP with the sts still in the hooks.  Now
insert the prongs of the tool thru the sts from the back right under the
hooks.  It helps to take a little of the weight off the sts as you do this
so the sts open a little.  Push the tool all the way thru after getting all
the sts lined up.  Point the eyes of the tool up so the sts can't fall off.

Push the work and tool against the needle bed so it goes behind the
latches.  Now pull everything forward off the needles.  Turn the work
around and replace the sts onto the needles in the normal manner by hooking
the eyes of the tool onto the hooks and sliding the sts over.  No way to
lose sts, as they are always firmly held by needles or a tool while lining
up the sts prior to moving.  That's it!  Easy!

Someone else try this and see if it doesn't work great.  That it isn't just
me and a mental block about the garter bar.

Ann in Tenn


Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 14:30:40 -0400
Subject: Re: [BOND] Increasing stitches

To increase in the middle with a garter/bobby bar:
Knit as normal to the increase row.  Pull needles out to hold position
and put the cards behind them so they won't go anywhere.  Then transfer
all the stitches to one side of where you need the increase to be onto
the garter bar.  Move over one needle.  Make your increase on the empty
needle in your favorite way.  (Mine is to pull up the purl loop from the
next stitch and hook it onto the needle.) Return needles to working
position and knit the row.
If you need to do more than one increase, you have to repeat the sequence
for each one.  
Hope this helps!

Jacksonville, Florida


Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 21:52:01 -0500
From: "" 
Subject: Re: [BOND] garter stitch on the bond

I am going to relate this to reading handknitting 
patterns too since that topic keeps coming up.  Garter stitch is 
knit every row, a completely reversible fabric, the same on both 
sides (and also non-rolling btw).  What the Bond does automatically 
is knit one row, purl one row called stockinette stitch, so we have 
a flat side made w/"v"s and a bumpy side.   The knit stitch is the 
opposite side of the purl stitch and the purl stitch is the opposite 
side of the knit stitch.

 So, to knit garter stitch on the Bond, knit two rows like normal.  
Then working across the row, drop each stitch down one ladder and 
latch it back up from the front (just for that row, don't let it drop 
more than one row) to make it a knit stitch on the purl side.  Do 
this all the way across the row.  Knit two more rows and convert the 
last row again.  You continue converting each stitch every other row. 
So, if the handknitting pattern says to knit 5 rows (garter stitch) 
you knit 2 rows, convert the last row, knit 2 rows, convert the last 
row (4 rows of garter stitch), knit 1 more row (5 rows).  

Now, if the pattern says to knit 1 row, purl 1 row, there is no 
converting involved in that as our machines do it automatically.  I 
think it is harder for handknitters to read machine knitting patterns 
because they don't realize that knit 5 rows on the machine really 
doesn't mean garter stitch, but actually means stockinette stitch.

So, did I answer your question?  If I need to clarify something, 
holler at me!  Lea-Ann
See my *assistant* at
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Author : Steph Thornton.
Last modified on : 7th November 1998.